PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A Portsmouth police officer who shot a fleeing armed burglary suspect has pleaded not guilty two to felony charges.
Jeremy Durocher was indicted on charges of aggravated malicious wounding and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony last November in connection to a 2017 incident on Tatem Avenue.
Durocher shot Deontrace Ward in the arm while responding to the burglary at a home on Tatem Avenue. A body camera Durocher was wearing recorded video of the incident, in which he can be heard yelling yelling “He has a gun! He has a gun!”
Ward, who was found with a gun on him, was arrested and later pleaded guilty to five felonies in the case. He was sentenced to six years in prison in June 2018.
Ward’s attorney filed a lawsuit in January that alleges Durocher engaged in gross negligence and battery during the 2017 incident. The lawsuit seeks nearly $2.4 million in damages.
In court on Thursday, Durocher asked for a bench trial, but since the Commonwealth asked for jury trial, the judge granted the jury trial.
Durocher’s defense said they were given a flash drive, 12 CDs and hundreds of pages of information they now have to go through. The defense has asked for Durocher’s trial to be pushed back to September, but the judge said it has to happen sooner.
A trial date has not officially been set, but a motions hearing is scheduled for May 30 where a judge will hear a change of venue request. Durocher’s defense does not believe he can get a fair trial in Portsmouth with everything going on in the city and in the department.